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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  July 3, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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we have done what i wanted to do. we have safely flown out of the shuttle. >> it will be at that moment when it's finally over that you'll be able to exhale, take a breath, understand the significance of the moment, that will probably take a little while to get me out of the shuttle. but i'm bound and determined to be the last one out. tonight, one of the hottest young stars out of hollywood -- no, not that hollywood. hollywood, in northern ireland. 22-year-old golfer rory mcilroy is the biggest spinning in sports since a guy named tiger. a small town boy made good. how can he help me with my game? >> i'll do what i can, but i can't work miracles. >> u.s. open champion rory mcilroy in his first sit-down since that stunning victory. >> for me i won a golf tournament and that was really the end of it. but it is a bigger story than that. and then, one of the
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greatest tennis players in the history of the sport. billie jean king. how she felt when she beat bobby rigs that that battle of the sexes. >> i still wake up in a cold sweat, i got to play that match! oh -- thank you, god, for lefting me win. >> the challenges she faced coming out. >> i didn't get comfortable in my own skin until i was probably 51. >> and my surprising connection with her. i was a ball boy at wimbledon. >> no way. >> this is pie"piers morgan tonight." we will start by talking about rory mcilroy's smashing victory, 16 under par, the lowest score in tournament history. first start to finish winner since tiger woods in 2002 and he's only 22 years old. rory mcilroy joins me now. rory, as a fellow irishman, thank you for coming to america and beating them at their own game in their own backyard.
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>> yeah -- i mean, no, what can i say. it was one of the best weeks in my life. everything sort of just came together at the right time and it was a great win. >> i mean to come to america and win the u.s. open is a feat very few ever achieve outside of america. what do you think it takes to be a winner? when it actually comes down to it, when you enter that fourth day as you did, what is it that makes a champion compared to others who often fall by the wayside? >> i mean i think i know from this year's masters, what happened to me, 95% of it is mental. knowing you're going out with the lead and knowing that if you stumble at all, there's going to be someone that's going to take advantage of that. but you know, you just get weeks, you know that everything's going to fall into place. you know that mentally you're in the right place and i was great mentally all week and that's what i needed to do.
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>> one thing i've learned about america and americans -- and i love them for it -- they don't like losing. how did they react to this young whipper-snapper from ireland coming in and winning their trophy? >> i felt as if the reception i got from the american people was very good. i don't know if it was because what happened at the masters and they wanted to see redemption or how they viewed it, but to go there and to win the u.s. open in front of the u.s. fans was for me very special and it was special to win there and the reception i got was so warm and it was just great to feel that from them. >> i want to play a little clip now from the epic scene at the end when you won and you ran to your father. just want to watch this. >> another u.s. open champion from northern ireland, an unreal performance by rory mcilroy, the
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2011 united states open champion. >> a very emotional scene there. you won the u.s. open and you walked to your day and you hug him. you say happy father's day. i can't think of many greater father's day presents than that. how did your dad react to this? >> he was fantastic all week. he was a very calming influence to me. having breakfast with him, we sort of talking about the day ahead, how i'm feeling. i feel as if -- i mean i'm obviously a lot of sons are very close with their fathers but i feel like i can say things to him that i couldn't say to anyone else and he's always very positive. anyone that knows him will tell you that. just re-assuring saying everything's okay, you'll be fine, just keep doing what you're doing. and to be able to celebrate like
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that on father's day with him was very special. >> the traditional irish way of celebrating things is to go and get completely hammered. i hope you kept up the tradition. >> yeah. i've had a couple of good nights out with my friends and family since i've been home. >> there is some conjecture about exactly what beer is your favorite. this is mainly been caused by you. because depending on which interview you're giving, you so far said heineken, corona, and guinness. now which is it? >> never guinness. >> no guinness. >> i still -- i think it is an acquired taste and i have still to acquire that taste. >> you don't like gin fles? >> no, i'm not a big fan. not a big fan. >> sacrilege. >> i know! i know. but if i was going to drink any beer, it would usually be heineken or corona. usually heineken. >> you're from the north of ireland. describe your upbringing. to many americans in particular, they know there's been a lot of trouble in northern island for
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many years. for a young man growing up in ireland, what was it like for you there? >> personally i never seen the violence. i grew up in a very tiny town just outside of belfast. in terms of trouble, it was only on the tv, on the news. i never experienced it firsthand. if anyone ever asked me about northern ireland and the troubles, i can't really say to them what it's like because i've never actually seen it. you snow so it is a pity that these things are put on the news and i'd rather see northern ireland portrayed in a more positive light. >> it's a lot more peaceful there now. there are still incidents occasionally but certainly when i grew up theirs it was a lot more violent. seems like northern ireland's come through that dark period. one the reasons is i think some of the sports men like yourself have been really excelling. do you feel the weight of the expectation of the irish on your shoulders? >> a little bit. but i don't mind that.
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i don't mind carrying that around with me. because if what i do on the golf course provides hope for the people of northern ireland, then i can't really do a much better job than that. >> are you irish or british? can you be both? >> it's hard. i'm northern irish. i carry a united kingdom and -- a british passport. it's a hard one -- it's hard one to sort of answer because i've got my choice. i can play for ireland, i can play for great britain. it's a tough one. i mean -- it's always going to be -- i'm always going to have to answer that and deal with that question because of where i grew up and it's -- i regard myself as northern irish around that's all i can really say. >> that's probably the diplomatic answer as well. >> yeah. have to be. >> did you have a tough upbringing, would you say? >> no. >> did you have much money as a family? >> no, no, not at all. my mom and dad worked very hrd
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to give me the best chance not just in golf but in life. i was an only child. my dad worked three jobs at one stage. my mom worked night shifts in a factory. >> what did they do? >> my dad was a bar manager and worked in separate places, in the daytime, then at the night. my mom work in a factory that produced tape and sort of industrial goods and she worked night shift in there. so they worked very hard. and i -- being so young, you're sort of oblivious to it all. it is only when you become a little older and a little wiser that you realize how much they sacrificed for you. >> it's been worth it though, hasn't it? >> yeah. yeah. but if it wasn't for them i wouldn't be -- probably wouldn't be sitting here talking to you. >> did you ever imagine when you were growing up in the other hollywood, the real one one day would be a place that would welcome you like a conquering
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hero? >> yeah, it's -- >> pretty surreal, isn't it? >> it is pretty surreal. i didn't realize the magnitude that this win would -- i didn't realize how much my life would change, even in the last ten days. >> what's it been like? i can't even imagine. a young lad of 22. my son's nearly 18 so i look at you and i see this very young guy who seems remarkably calm given you've just exploded on the international sports scene. when you win the u.s. open in america, you -- as i've seen, i've been out there when it happened -- it's a huge story. hard to describe to people back in ireland or england what's happened to you. it must have turned things upside down. isn't it? >> yeah. i didn't realize how much attention and focus was going to be on me after that. the amount of media requests. just interviews. everything like that. i mean for me i won a golf tournament and that was really the end of it but it's a bigger
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story than that and it's -- >> is it exciting or slightly terrifying? >> no, it's exciting. i mean it's the reason that i practice for seven or eight hours a day. there's no point in practicing for that long, then getting to the point where you could win a major, you could become the best player in the world and just say, oh, no, i don't really want that. that's why i practice, is to put myself in these positions. >> the other players, some of them have been playing for twice as long as you've been alive, and they have to watch you come along, some great british players never won a major, you've done now this ridiculously young age. you're being kaumd tcalled the tiger woods. how have the guys who have never won reacted and tried for so long to do so? >> they've been very positive. i feel as if i'm very close to lee westwood. he's been one of the best players in the world for a number of years now and just hasn't happened for him on that
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given week i think it's a huge advantage for me to be able to win a major so early to get that monkey off my back, as they say, and focus on winning more majors. >> we'll have a short break. when we come back, i want to talk to you about what it's like -- apart from this fly buzzing around your head. i'd talk to you about the guy everyone's comparing you to, tiger woods. to keep in balance after 50, i switched to a complete multivitamin with more. only one a day women's 50+ advantage has ginkgo for memory and concentration, plus support for bone and breast health. a great addition to my routine. [ female announcer ] one a day women's.
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rory, lots of comparisons right now to you and tiger woods, famous footage of him 3 years old smacking balls down the fairway. you were playing at 18 months, if folklore is correct. do you see any parallels with tiger in terms of the way you play? >> yeah. i mean at 22 we both had one major. he won a couple more times than i have in my career, but i mean i have to let other people make comparisons because if i try and chase his records, i'll lose sight of what i need to do to actually win tournaments. tiger's one of the best players, if not the best player to ever play the game, so -- >> there are people right now, proper experts, saying that you have the ability, the natural
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ability, and you've now shown the mental strength to come back from the masters where, to use sporting parlance, you slightly choked, if you don't mind me using that phrase. >> no. >> to come back and win the open after that proved to the experts that you have the mental agility, too. they're saying you could have it all. you could go on and be the greatest champion that golf's ever seen. that's a lot of pressure. isn't it? >> it is. but at the end of the day that's what -- their only words, i have to go out and actually do it. they could say he could win 20 major championships but at the end of the day i've only got one so it is up to me and go out and prove them right if they are right and not bother that, just focus on me and playing my best golf. if i can do that, records and wins and everything else should take care of themselves. >> i suppose you've always shown a slight fearlessness towards tiger. you've never been apparently as
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in awe of him as some of the others. it was suggested this was getting to him a bit, that -- who is this guy who isn't terrified of me? it is part of the thing of sport to not be in awe of people. >> yeah, of course. i don't want to feel inferior to any other golfer in the world. if you do that, then you're giving them an advantage right off the -- you know, right from the start. but i obviously respect everything's tiger's done and as a kid i was in awe of what he was doing, but i'm supposed to be a competitor of his now, so i can't be in awe of what he does or anything like that. all i have to do is focus on, again, on my game. can he do whatever he wants but at the end of the dayfy concentrate on me and i play my best golf, i know that sometimesfy do that i'll come out on top. >> tiger obviously became one of the biggest sports icons in history. very, very quickly.
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m the poster boy in every way. we know what came next, his life came crashing down around him. a lot of it people say is down to the huge pressure he was under to be this huge superstar all the time. you're now going to get a lot of the tiger-like attention, not just from the golf critic and media and so on, but let's face it, you're a good looking young irish man. you're going to get all the girls and so on. do you think you have the strength of character to deal with it in a way that tiger ultimately turned out not to be able to have? >> i hope so. it's a tough one because, i mean, as a golfer you grow up and you -- all you're doing is try to imagine winning tournaments and becoming the best golfer that you can be. but you don't realize everything else that goes along with that, the fame, the attention and it's something that i'll just have to
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deal with. it's something that i feel tiger managed it very well for a long time and it just obviously all sort of got to him. it's a very tough position to be in. >> it can be a lonely world being a professional sportsman. certainly golfers. you're all touring all the time, flying around, staying in hotel rooms. you get a lot of attention from the groupies and so on. it is not a healthy way to live for relationships and stuff, is it? >> no, it's not. no, not at all. that's why a lot of the golfers travel with their families and with their wives and you need a good team around you to keep you grounded and keep you in check with reality and keep a sense of perspective and i feel as if i've got great parents, got a great family, got great friends and i hope -- >> and a great girlfriend. >> yeah. >> holly, your childhood
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sweetheart. what does she make of what's happening to you? >> i think in a way it's tough on her. i'm getting all this attention and we've been together since we were 15 years old. and we've had a couple of five or six-week breaks which you're going to have. but she knows me better than probably anyone else in the world and she keeps me very grounded. she doesn't take any grief from me. >> not many women i know would like waking up to see the man in their life described as the next tiger woods right now. >> no, definitely not. no. but she's great. we're a very normal -- i'm trying to stay as normal as possible. i don't know what the next few years are going to bring but we're a very normal couple. she still goes to university. she's trying to finish her degree. i'm obviously out playing golf and trying to win major
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championships. but we see a lot of each other and we have two dogs, live together, so its -- >> you've got a little family already. >> well sort of, yeah. >> do you think wedding bells are on the horizon here. >> no, not at the minute. holly needs to finish school first and get a degree and -- >> does it depend on how good a degree she gets? >> no, not at all, she's a lot smarter than i am. no, she's the brains of the couple. >> it must be surreal for both of you. you're ticking along quite nicely, your golf's getting better and better. but this particular stage in your life, even you probably couldn't have foreseen what was going to happen. both of you, the two dogs and attempt at a normal life. but you must both realize it is not going to be normal. >> no, it's not. we're going to get attention, good and bad. but again it's just something we're going to have to learn to deal with.
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it's amazing how live can change so quickly. you just got to adapt with the times. >> take another break. when we come back, i'll play a little message from a friend of yours to spice things up a bit. you just got to adapt with the maybe, it's something you haven't seen yet. the 2nd generation of intel core processors. this is visibly smart.
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rory, congratulations on your u.s. open victory.
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i know your first major championship is very special. not quite sure what golf course you were playing at but congrats. what a display. you blew us all away. congrats, enjoy. >> fellow irish man, of course. even with him, want to kill him on the golf course. right? >> yeah, of course. yeah. on the golf course, yeah. but he's a great friend off it. >> people watching think he's a nice charming young man from ireland. he has good polished shoes. yet in you is this steely assassin on a golf course. where does that come from? where does it come from for you, do you think? where have you got that from? >> i think you need that. i mean i feel as if i need that on the golf course. i need that cockiness, the self-belief, arrogance, swagger, whatever you want to call it. i need that on the golf course to bring the best out of myself. but once i leave the golf
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course, that all gets left there. i just try to just turn into the normal rory mcilroy that was brought up in hollywood, northern ireland. >> if you try to go home to holly and the two dogs with the swagger and arrogance and cockiness, how would she react? >> probably with a slap for the back of the right hand. >> who are the sportsman that you've most admired over the years? from any generation, really. who's most inspired you? >> yeah. i think for any golfer from my generation, watching tiger growing up and winning his major championships is -- was a huge inspiration for me to believe that maybe one day i could go on to emulate what he's done. >> did he call you after the u.s. open? >> no, he left a message in the media center. >> saying what? >> just well done, great performance from start to finish. and that was basically it. but nowadays i look up to rafael
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nadal and i've become pretty good friends with him over the last year and i just think the determination and the focus and the intensity that he brings to the tennis court is incredible. it's nothing -- like i've never seen anything like it before. >> the one really downside to you, amid all this apparent perfection, is you're a manchester united soccer fan which is about as bad as life gets. they have this great manager, sir alex ferguson, he's a legend in europe. not that well known in america but in terms of his leadership, is he someone that inspires you? >> yeah, definitely. i think especially with the crop of players that he had in the late '90s, david beckham, gary neville, ryan giggs, for all those players to be so loyal to him for so long, it shows what a great leader he was. >> when you lost the masters and you had to wake up to all these
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headlines, rory chokes and so on, so on, do you get depressed when that happens or do you have a side to you that just fires yourself up? do you sink in to a kind of temporary oblivion of despair? >> no. if anything, it made me more determined to go back and to prove to a lot of people, not just the media but just everyone. and prove to myself as well that i wasn't this person that they were making me out to be in the press, a choker or a "can't handle the pressure." i was determined to go out and show them that that wasn't me. >> did you get any time to relax then? >> yeah, a little bit. i try to. i think time off and time away from the game is nearly as important as the time that you practice, because if i played golf every day i would -- you get stale and you become a little bit -- you go through the motions and it becomes a little
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bit tedious but once you go away from the game for a couple of weeks, you've got that freshness back and that hunger and determination to go on and you want to work hard in practice again. >> what do you like to do to just completely take your mind off golf? what's the best escape route for you? >> i like to go and watch other sporting events. wimbledon, boxing matches, i've got a football pitch at home that me and my mates play all the time. >> do you ever read books? >> yeah. to be honest i haven't read a book in probably a year. i think it is something that -- >> music? you listen to music. >> yeah, music. i'm into music. >> what's in yourism pod? >> a lot of dancy sort of tech know swedish horse mafia -- >> really? >> swedish house mafia? >> yeah. i went to the concert here in london about four weeks ago. >> i'm being told they're really big.
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i shouldn't act surprised. what's a big ambition for you, personally and professional? >> personally? not to let all this attention that i'm probably going to get, not let that affect me in any way. professional? i want to go on to win more major championships. i want to try and become the best golfer in the world -- >> best golfer in history? >> yeah. >> is that now attainable to you, do you think? >> i'd probably be -- >> let's put rory mcilroy of the golf course, let's ask him that question, along with the swagger, the cockiness, the arrogance. i'm looking at a guy who just won the u.s. open who looks supremely chilled out by this. i think you quietly believe you could go on to become one of the greats. >> yeah, i do. i do. but i don't really know if people want to hear that. i mean i believe that myself.
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>> i love my sportsmen to exude chilling self-confidence. >> yeah, you know, i'm very confident of my own abilities. i believe in myself and, yeah, i said something a couple of days ago, i said i'm not playing for money, i'm playing for a place in history and that's -- that's really what i'm all about. >> rory, best of luck. >> thank you. >> congratulations again. you're the pride of ireland, britain, anywhere you like to say. we're all proud of you. >> thank you very much. back to the studio now for my interview with the woman who turned the tennis world upside down. billie jean king. an everyday moment can turn romantic anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day
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. billie jean king is not just one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, she's surely one of the greatest tennis players, period. one who changed the sport forever and she joins me now. billie jean, this is a real honor for me. >> you've been coming to wimbledon for years. >> i lived in wimbledon for five years. i was a ball boy at wimbledon. i covered wimbledon fortnight when all these people would be brought up for drinking. i don't think i ever got on the
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big courts. >> i was outside courts. >> you were usually quickly marshaled your way to the big courts. >> not in the beginning. you weren't around in the beginning -- well, you were just thought of. >> i'm a little older than i look. >> you look very young. i'm 67 so i don't -- >> this is the most amazing thing. this year is the 50th anniversary of your first wimbledon win. i found that extraordinary. >> and i haven't missed a year. i've gone every single year since '61. >> do you still play tennis? >> well, i got to a point -- because i starred having my first knee operation when i was 23 and i was number one in the world. my knees progressively got worse and worse. so last year i got both the knee -- >> how many knee replacements have you had? >> i've had eight all together in my knees. i had this last 30 years, for the testing 30 years performance. i'm like why did i wait? i would have given anything.
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>> it really worked. >> i just played tennis the last two days out in central park in new york city and -- >> really? just around the corn per. >> yeah, yeah. because i live on the upper west side. it's right near, i go. it is so much fun. i'm so excited. i got to where i had to take a taxi to the gym which is 2 1/2 blocks away. okay? and so now i can walk forever. i can up and downstairs. >> when you play in central park do you get anybody going by, wait a second? >> yeah, i do. i get a little group watching. they go, oh, she's probably not very good. >> are you good these days? >> no, i'm terrible. can still strike the ball well. my eyes are great. now that i can move and turn and run a little. >> i would challenge you. >> you'd beat me. >> the last guy that challenged you, you whipped his butt. the famous bachby rigs. >> yeah. it was 1973. vietnam was cooling down, water gate was heating up. women could not get a credit
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card on their own in the united states without a male signing off on it. so a lot -- roe versus wade. it was a very tumultuous time in our country. we'd also gotten title 9 which was june 23rd, 1972, where federal funds going to private or public high schools or college or universities would get equally spent on both genders for the first time. so you know, i know if you live outside of the united states, but it's huge. now we have more women at universities -- actually it's about 57% on average are now women at the universities. >> but you were -- i have to say, very instrumental in changing the whole view of women's rights. forget just tennis or sport. >> but it was visual though. it was about men and woman. everyone got to emotional. men were emotional. it brought out the worst and the best of everybody. >> when did he challenge you? >> we didn't have cable television then either.
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we didn't have anything like that. >> set the screen for the bobby riggs. >> he was a former number one, won the triple crown at wimbledon in '39. we'd only started women's professional tennis in 1971, our first tour. i kept saying, bobby, we're in a tenuous position. go away. he kept coming back. finally margaret court who ended up being number one in '73 played him on mother's day and they call it the mother's day massacre because i think he won like 6-2, 6-1 or 6-1, 6-2. if you don't know anything about tennis, that's really bad. >> what were you thinking when that happened in. >> when i found out, i was in japan. i got -- the flight attendant told me coming from japan. i said who wan the match. she said riggs. i said, oh, i have to play. done deal.
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>> because you had to shut him up. >> so margaret took one for the team by losing and she definitely teed it up for the stage and it was on everybody -- everybody was talking about it. it was in every -- i mean everybody. >> it was a basic battle of the sexes. this was the moment that women in america i think got empowered. this braggart sexist pig and you beat him. >> when you beat him -- >> such relief. thank you, god. i still wake up in a cold sweat thinkingvy to play that match, oh, thank you, god, for letting me win. >> when you went out afterwards, when was the reaction from women in particular. >> i actually get half and half. because fathers -- men in their 40s an 50s and 60s now come up to me daily with tears in their eyes because they have daughters. and they said that match changed me. like obama, president obama saw
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it when he was what in 12 or 13? he told me how that influences him. >> really. >> yes. and now he has two daughters. yes. and they are the first generation of men -- >> to do what? >> just to really think about always making sure his daughters or girls and women have opportunities just like boys. that he believes we should have equal everything which is what i've been fighting for since i was 12 actually. i had an epiphany at 12. >> what was the epiphany? >> the epiphany was i was going to spend the rest of my life fighting for equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women. >> did something happen to spark that? >> i think it is because i got into tennis when i was 11 and i wanted to be number one right away. i found my life, my destiny and i just had this -- i was out at the los angeles tennis club. it was very quiet day and the sun was setting and there was nobody around and i just said, you know what? this game has white people, white clothes, white sox, white
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balls, where's everybody else? that started. that was the beginning of my thinking. then i started thinking about the world and society and just this is ridiculous. we all should have equal rights and opportunities and that just came to that as a 12-year-old and then i prayed that i would be number one maybe i could have some influence, help make a difference before i'm out of here. >> hold that thought for a moment. after the break i want to talk about what many thought was an even more seismic moment for tennis or the sport when in 1972 you made the cover of "sports illustrated" magazine. >> oh, that was big. >> bigger than wimbledon, some say. hey, the new guy is loaded with protein! really? 25 grams of protein. what do we have? all four of us, together? 24. he's low fat, too, and has 5 grams of sugars. i'll believe it when i--- [ both ] oooooh... what's shakin'? [ female announcer ] as you get older, protein is an important part of staying active and strong.
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try capzasin-hp. it penetrates deep to block pain signals for hours of relief. capzasin-hp. take the pain out of arthritis. billie jean, forget winning wimbledon. let's cut to "sports illustrated" magazine and the moment that you became the cover girl for "sports illustrated." that itself created shockwaves, didn't it? >> it did. it was the first time a woman ever got sports "man" of the year. i shared with t with the late, great john wooden, the coach of the bruins, the ucla bruins, in los angeles. so that was an honor just to be with him. because basketball was my first love so him being a basketball coach i thought was great. usually i always shared covers with people in the beginning.
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i'm the person that got the door ajar and then the next time, like chris evert was sports woman or person of the year, she got the whole cover. >> chris evert's always called you the -- >> chris and i always got along good. martina we had the tri going. media's always baiting you to get you upset over another player. i said you guys, they're always baiting you. we're always going to be good to each other. the three of us, that really cemented it. my generation mentored their generation a lot. there's always a big influence on the second generation. by the third generation it is a much more "me" type of generation. >> what was the hardest barrier for you to break down, do you think? >> i think for me probably being gay, being a lesbian. i think that's probably been my
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toughest fight. because i grew up in a homophobic family, although not now. but -- i didn't get comfortable in my own skin until i was probably 51. >> what age were you when you came out? >> i was outed by marilyn barnett in '81. which people always say don't you think people should be outed? absolutely not. you should be able to come out on your own terms in life and anything. >> how did it snap. >> i had this affair with marilyn barnett and she tried to sue me for money. what else? it's money. so that was very difficult time. >> an awl betrful betrayal. >> it was very hard on me because i lost all my money overnight and -- >> from what endorse sfmts. >> endorsements went bye-bye in 24 hours. they called me a slut and they called me all kinds of things and it was a terrible time in my life. but i also had to figure out how
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am i going to -- how i'm going to live. because i was still married to larry king. not that larry king. >> that would have been number nine. >> yeah, i would have. would ha. i wanted a divorce for a long time. we worked through it and ethana klaus has been my partner for 30 years now. but being comfortable in your own skin is really important. it was such an honor a couple years ago when i won the medal of freedom. and president obama is the first president that actually mentioned the lgbt community and harv harvey milk was assassinated and mayor was assassinated. to be the, to have harvey milk
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get the highest award you can get in the united states of america. >> playing back a little bit. when you were outed in that way, it was a bruising, horrible experience for you. looking back on it, did it actually make your life better in the longer term? >> in the long run, sure. it got me going. >> why would you advise other people not to come out? >> because it's not right. it is a horrible feeling. you want to do it on your own terms. when people are ready. if you go to psycho therapy like i went to, they tell you when you're ready, you're ready. until someone is ready, they're not. you have to be kind and good to people and they'll find their way. it doesn't mean you don't talk to them personally or privately. i think it helps when a straight person says, are you gay? and i don't care if you are. and that really just sets the tone. like, ah. but a lot of straight people are afraid to say anything. and i appreciate that, too. you know, i thought i was straight for years so i've been
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both places. so it's just important, and everyone has the same challenges and problems. that's what people don't realize. it is so interesting how people think, you have a different set of -- no. no. in relationships, it is so much the same. >> another short break. when we come back, i want to know about the song elton john wrote for you. to keep in balance after 50, i switched to a complete multivitamin with more. only one a day women's 50+ advantage has ginkgo for memory and concentration, plus support for bone and breast health. a great addition to my routine. [ female announcer ] one a day women's.
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right now my special guest, billie jean king. you are singing a song that elton john himself wrote in your honor. tell me about it. >> the people out here, they're all singing it to help us remember. >> it was philadelphia freedom. >> i played world team tennis for the philadelphia freedom the first year. and elton used to come sit on the bench. ted who was the designer from england made the uniforms for us and they made elton one. and he played an exhibition against bill cosby as well. he used to si on the bench with our team. it was a co-ed team. that's still my core business, world team tennis. it is ironic because here we go. so anyway, we're going to a concert together and he said i want to write you a song. i'm blushing. i thought he was teasing, you must be joking. no, no, i'm serious. he said what are we going to
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call it? i said, i don't know. i'm so embarrassed by this time. and he goes, how about philadelphia freedom? that would be great. i love that. i love philadelphia -- whatever. so i go, hey, that would be a great gift to the people of philadelphia. and of course, i'm playing team tennis for them which is a co-ed league. so i'm thrilled. so he wrote it, he brought a rough mix to our, at the end of the year, at the end of the season, i mean. i had the whole philadelphia freedom team standing around in this journey cressing room, locker room. depends on which country you're from. he said i hope you like it. i loved it. first of all -- >> what an honor. >> he's been a friend since '73. this was '75. and you're not kidding, what an honor. and it is still, when i go to any place in philadelphia, this is kind of like their anthem. and a lot of people don't know the history. they think, oh, they don't know. then i tell them, and then we
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still have a philadelphia freedom world team tennis team. >> did you stay friends with elton? >> forever. >> have you seen his new baby yet? >> no. but my partner has. she has held him two weeks after zachary was born. i wasn't in l.a. she held him and she said he's adorable. >> when you watch modern female tennis. i went to see serena williams playing against some eastern european waif of a girl at wimbledon two years ago. it was utterly barbaric. it was like going back into sort of the old roman amphitheatre. i spoke to serena at a party about this and she was xhukling away. >> of course she box. >> yeah, i remember. i destroyed her. wow! how would you have got on against women who are so physically powerful? >> this generation is so much better. my brother is 6'3". i needed to be taller probably. you talk about serena, she could have been the greatest player of all time if she would play consistently and, she's had so
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many other thing she loves to do which is fine. and venus, both of them are just tremendous. >> for you finally, 50 years since your first victory at wimbledon. what has been the greatest moment of your life? >> you're really asking difficult questions. it depends, is it personal? is it career? is it -- winning 20 wimbledons was right up there. >> does anything beat the first one? >> actually not. i like mixed doubles best. then women's doubles and singles. for me winning doubles with karen hanson, 1961. my very first year. here we are 50 years later. i loved that moment. you have no idea how i think about that. we giggled our way through wimbledon. i had no clue what was going on. karen kept telling me we could win. i'm saying there's no way we can win. i never look at the draw. she kept wanting me to look at the draw. i went over to look at the draw to keep her happy. i don't like looking at draws. i like taking one match at a time. and never think ahead. and she's going,